A new Chief Academic Officer with a passion for excellence in communication, collaboration, community, and cultural diversity has been named at Arkansas State University Mid-South.
Dr. Debbie Thomas brings twenty-eight years of transformative higher education experience to ASU Mid-South having served in executive leadership positions in Academic Affairs at colleges in Kentucky, Connecticut, North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida. Most recently she was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY.
“I initially embarked upon this honorable path as a first generation student sojourner,” says Dr. Thomas. “I am honored to provide leadership for the development and long-term sustainability of a comprehensive collaborative institution such as ASU Mid-South. My desire is to effectively advance our student success by facilitating access, equity, and excellence for all students. This path is made much easier for me at ASU Mid-South through the existing level of passion and instilled distinction of this great faculty, staff and administration.”
In addition to her Kentucky assignment, Dr. Thomas served as Dean of Academic Affairs for Capital Community College in Hartford, CT, as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, and as Executive Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence at Indiana State University Northwest in Gary, IN. She was also the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Director of Teacher Education and Certification at Fisk University in Nashville, and the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at University of Arkansas at Monticello.
“We are indeed fortunate to have someone of Dr. Thomas’ stature and experience join our talented team as she exhibits that student-centered appetite shared by our faculty and staff. We believe Debbie is the perfect fit for ASU Mid-South and will continue a tradition of excellence leading us to even greater heights in student success,” said Dr. Debra West, Chancellor.
Dr. Thomas received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1993. Born in Louisiana, she earned her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from Northeast Louisiana University, now the University of Louisiana at Monroe where she studied Journalism, Marketing, Public Relations and Communications.
“What impresses me so about Debbie is that while her roles in academic leadership have been
varied, the common denominator has been her success in the areas of communication,
collaboration, community outreach, and cultural diversity,” Dr. West added. “She calls them
her Four Pillars of Preparedness and they truly are essentials for effectiveness and excellence in
Dr. Thomas started at the college on August 1. She replaces Dr. Cliff Jones who left June 30 to
join the Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development as its Deputy